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Smoking adds £760m to social care budget annually

Smoking adds £760m to social care budget annually

Local authorities in England face a bill of £760m each year to help people with smoking related illnesses stay in their own homes, according to leading MPs
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Local authorities in England face a bill of £760m each year to help people with smoking related illnesses stay in their own homes, according to leading MPs.

A new report from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health found that the cost of caring for smokers has risen by £160m since 2012.

Meanwhile, individuals also face paying a total of £630m to cover costs of their own care.

The report added that funding cuts to local authority stop smoking services are being made worse by cuts to public health grants and a growing number of commissioners refusing to pay for GP prescriptions for stop smoking medicines.

Margaret Willcox, president-elect of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Care (ADASS), said: “Rising demand and the increased cost of care has left providers struggling to meet the needs of those who depend on social care.

She added: “Preventing people from needing care in the first place is vital and reducing smoking can make an important contribution both to reducing the costs of care to councils and improving the quality of life for many who may otherwise need years of care.”

The Local Government Association has predicted that local authorities face a funding gap for social care provision of £2.6bn by the end of the decade.

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, chairman of the LGA Community Wellbeing Board, said: "Smoking still remains our number one killer and councils with their responsibility for public health remain committed to eliminating it altogether.

She added that the Government needs to “urgently inject genuinely new money” into funds for elderly and vulnerable residents.

She said: "The cuts by government to councils' public health grants of nearly 10 per cent – approximately £530 million over five years – also threaten to undermine the good work councils are doing around smoking cessation."

Bob Blackman MP, chair of the APPG on Smoking and Health said: “Smoking is the leading cause of health inequalities in the UK so this puts at serious risk progress towards the Prime Minister’s ambition to reduce the burning injustice caused by inequality.

He added that the new Tobacco Control Plan for England, should be published “without further delay” as it will be “crucial to ensuring that Government, the NHS and local Councils work together” to tackle the detriments of smoking.

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